My plants were attacked by those obnoxious green caterpillars

A customer has a question and I hope we can get some opinions on it, thanks

I grow my plants outside here in Southern California. Late in the season last year my plants were attacked by those obnoxious green caterpillars. I picked them off as best as I could but still lost about 1/3 or my crop.

Since I don’t want to use insecticide, this year I bought praying mantis eggs in the hope that would cure the problem. It didn’t and again I will lose a lot of bud.

Do you have any suggestions on what I can do next year?

BTW, I started my Chocolope seeds indoors doing 12 on and 12 off with the lights. When I moved them outside the photoperiod was still increasing but there wasn’t yet 12 hours of sunlight and when the plants were about 4 feet high they started to flower and they’ve been doing so now for almost three months, It is these plants that are being eaten by the caterpillars. The remainder of the plants, Super Silver Haze, I planted later in the spring even though I started them inside under lights and they appear to be on a normal schedule.

I have had the same issue and like you i dont want to use any pesticides on my plants period. I resorted to picking them off by hand but you never quite get them all. My plants were under the outer canopy of a larger tree and the caterpillars were falling from the tree onto my plants. To solve the issue without resorting to all out war , the best solution for me was to place and open sided structure with clear roof panels over my plants. No more caterpillar issues. Not sure if this can be used in your situation . Others will have more recommendations on sprays and treatments.

Im definitely gonna try this. I have 24-0 autos in first week or two. And i let them get sun maybe 6 hours a day (love the stretch now) but every night i find 3 or 4 of the buggers assaulting my babies. I just pick’m off and hope for the best. Clear roofing it is.

Adressing your light photo period. You should never start plants below 14/10 before moving outdoors.Always veg between 14/10 and 18/6, no longer and no shorter. That way, when you move them outdoors it will be more natural for them. At 12/12 indoors, you were inducing flower cycle the entire time.

You are going to have to use an insecticidal soap (many good ones out there for vegetables), or make a soap pepper solution.

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My light period? @latewood
Im going all 24. Have been reading alot of let them sleep so maybe when sun goes down (and i bring them back in like i do every night) ill give them a lights out til midnight or so. 4 hours. But ive been 24-0 on two bag seeds (reg) 1 wwa n 1 bba.

Ooo the OPs. Sorry. Carry on. :laughing::laughing:

I guess you do not have any choice but, I never, ever, ever grow under 24/0, FYI’'Best to bring them into at least 6 hours of dark per day. 8 is better. 4 is too short for plants from seed.


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@latewood has given great advice
All plants need rest autos and photos
I personally use a 16-8 veg light cycle indoors
Take Latewood’s advice and you’ll do great